Living Trust jargon can be confusing, but Santa Claus and his sleigh are here to help!
Think of The Living Trust as a Sleigh:
Santa & Mrs. Claus: Settlor/Grantor/Trustor
Santa and Mrs. Claus created, maintain, and update Santa’s sleigh. Like the manufacturer of a vehicle, you design, build, and name your Trust. During your lifetime(s), you’ll continue to own the Living Trust. In legal terms, we call you the Settlor(s), Grantor(s), or Trustor(s).
Santa’s Bag: Trust Estate
It’s critical that Santa and Mrs. Claus put important things like gifts in Santa’s bag so they get to the correct destination. All important things you own are called assets like house(s), your business(es), your bank account(s), and other important assets, including sentimental items like jewelry or heirlooms. Together, all of these assets are called the Trust Estate.
Santa & Mrs. Claus: Trustees
Santa flies and controls the sleigh. As a Trustee, you control the Living Trust. Typically, you (and your spouse) will be the first driver(s), or initial co-Trustee(s). The driver’s job (legal duty) is to get the vehicle to its destination safely.
Elves: Backup Trustees (Successor Trustees)
When Santa’s had too many cookies, the elves take over the sleigh! When you (and your spouse) can no longer drive, your backup Trustee can help with the Living Trust. They are your backup driver(s), or Successor Trustee(s). They simply have control of the vehicle, but not ownership.
All the Children of the World: Beneficiaries
The purpose of the sleigh is to get everything in Santa’s bag delivered safely to children all over the world, the ones on Santa’s nice list. Beneficiaries receive assets listed in the Living Trust. Beneficiaries are typically children, but can also be non-profit organizations, or other important people, like family members or close friends. Together, we call them all beneficiaries. Ultimately, these are the people (or organizations) that we’re creating the Living Trust for.
Santa’s Naughty or Nice List: Living Trust Document
Now that we have a fully built and fully occupied sleigh with assets in Santa’s bag, the question becomes: where are we going? Santa’s Naughty or Nice list is a roadmap that stays with the sleigh at all times, and whoever is driving has a legal duty to follow the directions laid out in the roadmap. And by creating the sleigh, Santa can fly right past the probate court on the way to his destination.
SuccessionLegal® : Reindeer
Rudolph and his 8 other pals safely guide the sleigh through dark nights and turbulent weather, but make sure the sleigh always gets to its destinations. The team at SuccessionLegal® works with Trustees to create a roadmap for their assets, avoid probate court, and ensure their beneficiaries receive what’s meant to be theirs.
Of course, The Living Trust as a Sleigh is only a starting point for discussion. Most importantly, though, it helps our clients overcome their confusion and get moving on their planning process. If you’re ready to do the same, contact our team today.